Ruth Gossen

“Just Like a Fairy Tale”
Words and music by Marianne Fridell
with Mrs. Brunner’s 5th Grade Class
©2006 Marianne Fridell




      Ruth Gossen

Raindrops go down so fast, one drop goes to the other.
The drops—they go together.
When they start to leave, the have a part of each other.
We never touch someone so lightly that we do not leave a trace. (2X)

I member in my childhood a little girl who listened
To the voices whispering of promises that glistened.
They say the ugly duckling became a graceful swan.
To think that little girl was me, begins with once upon.
Once upon a time, there was magic inspiration.
Through dances, skits and fairy tales, I found imagination.
Even as a child, it seemed so clear to me.
The mind is its own place: it’s where I want to be.
Our lives tell a story, just like a fairy tale. (2X)

I journeyed to a distant land, by train to Dickinson.
My money had run out, so I had to use my thumb.
Weary to the bone, I was Montana bound.
I laid my head on cement bags as soft as feather down.
Our lives tell a story, just like a fairy tale. (2X)

I dreamed a dreamless sleep, I was completely spent.
He said I looked so helpless, and so innocent
That he could not help himself, he fell under my spell.
My love was tall and handsome, just like a fairy tale.
Our lives tell a story, just like a fairy tale. (2X)

He let me drive a car, which I had never done before.
As he grabbed the wheel to miss the ditch, I put the pedal to the floor.
Woman,” he said calmly as the dust began to land.
“You need someone to care for you, and I think that I’m the man.”
Our lives tell a story, just like a fairy tale. (2X)

This is just a chapter in the novel of my life.
All moments are key moments. Don’t let them pass you by.
There are challenges in every life that’s true.
The magic words to hear and say are: “I love you.”
Our lives tell a story, just like a fairy tale. (2X)

I am a survivor and I’ve helped others survive.
I contemplate how I can help, and listen to my life.
Now my glass is filled: that is how I see.
Remember we create our own reality.
Our lives tell a story, just like a fairy tale. (4X)

(Repeat first verse.)
We never touch someone so lightly that we do not leave a trace. (X4)

Ruth Sweeney Gossen’s early life was fairly common for children who grew up in the 1920’s and 30’s. She was born and raised on a farm. She loved helping around the farm and she also loved to play with the animals. But she grew up in a special place. It was an Indian Reservation in Sisseton, South Dakota.

Miss Sweeney decided to attend college at a very early age. When she was in first grade, her friend’s sister visited her class and told them about college. She imagined it as a magical place, and she knew that she would study there someday. Not many books were available in those days, but she loved to hear her teachers’ stories. She also loved to write, and she loved history and mythology. She also enjoyed creating and acting in plays and going to parties. One of the parties was a birthday party where she dressed as the Queen of Hearts that baked some tarts. About three times a year she was able to go to the movies. She lived an active and creative childhood.

After two years of college, Ruth Sweeney met and married Ted Gossen in Montana. Then she spent her life raising her two daughters and a son. Eventually she returned to studying and teaching. Sadly, her son and husband have died. She has lived in lots of different places including Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota.

Mrs. Gossen believes her mother would be very proud of her because she did attend college. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and she has also earned her Ph.D. Ph.D. stands for Doctor of Philosophy. She earned her Ph.D. in English by reading 52 books by C. S. Lewis and 52 books about C.S. Lewis. Finally she had to write her own book, titled C. S. Lewis’s Humor.

She has dedicated her life to teaching. Mrs. Gossen has taught every grade from kindergarten to college and at an alternative school. Her schools were in places like Columbia, Missouri, Brush and Ft. Morgan, Colorado; Newcastle, Wyoming; and Four Mile, Custer, Hill City, and Pringle, South Dakota.

She truly admires the quotations of many authors, including John Milton. One of her favorites is, “The mind is its own place. It can make a hell of heaven and a heaven of hell.” This shows that we can create our own reality.

One of her accomplishments was to recover from a broken shoulder, and another was to beat cancer. Dr. Ruth Gossen believes that the most important thing in life is helping others. She has tried to help people most of her life, and she is most proud of the work she did for a help line in Colorado. She thinks we need to be aware of the needs of others, but we should only help at the right times. We need to try to listen, to understand how a person feels, and be sensitive to their needs. She will plan carefully how to help, then she chooses just the right book to offer them. We should remain open to the opportunities of each day and be curious about life. She says, “Listen to your life.”

Her main challenge is to read all of the books in her library. She has a library that contains over $1500 worth of books that she has not read yet, even though she reads three or four books at a time. One of her ambitions is to read them all. Another is to save enough to take her family to Vienna, Austria, to watch her hero, Walter Cronkite, narrate Vienna’s famous New Year’s Eve concert.

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